Preds Sweep Western Road Trip with 2-1 Win over Flames

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Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

No one can argue that Nashville looked like a completely different team this time around when it came to a road trip; especially compared to the previous one. Perhaps it was a change in the lineups, a stern lecture from the coaching staff, or a combination of a multitude of factors. Whatever it was, something connected within the team out in Western Canada and the Predators now have a record to prove it. After losing 4-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks last Tuesday, the Predators hit the skies for Manitoba to take on divisional opponent the Winnipeg Jets. In their first meeting with the Jets back on November 14th in Nashville, the Predators dominated the former Atlanta Thrashers 7-0. After that? The Jets returned to Nashville on January 5th, crushing the home team 4-1. And after that? The Predators nabbed their only point in their previous road trip, losing to Winnipeg 5-4 in OT. Despite a blaring concern in the goaltending department, the Predators pulled themselves together and started to dig – as a team – out of the hole they currently find themselves in, defeating the Winnipeg Jets 4-1.

Next on the schedule was Taylor Hall and his Edmonton Oilers. Nashville and Edmonton have only met once this season, which was back on October 10th in Nashville when the Predators defeated the Oilers 2-0. For some reason, the Oilers have always been a team that, despite their not-so-great record over the years (they currently sit in last in the Western Conference), a team that the Predators have struggled to beat. That wasn’t the case on October 10th nor was it the case Saturday when Nashville claimed victory in Edmonton, winning 4-1.

The Vancouver Canucks were Nashville’s next opponent on the schedule, another team that has held Nashville back many times before. Strangely enough, this was Nashville and Vancouver’s first meeting of the season. Though Nashville is ahead of Vancouver in the standings, that means nothing to the Sedin twins. Thanks to a first minute of the game goal by Craig Smith, the Predators held onto that momentum, even after the Canucks tied it shortly thereafter. It would be James Neal who sent the Predators up 2-1 early in the third period that would seal the game in favor of Nashville.

And lastly, we come to last night’s game against the Calgary Flames. In their first meeting of the season, back on December 15th, the Flames barely slipped by with the 2-1 OT victory. Nashville, high from winning their past three games, were no doubt itching to claim victory. Pekka Rinne was given the start in the previous three games, but last night was Carter Hutton’s time. And boy, did he shine. It is no secret that Predators fans are a bit hard on their team’s goaltenders. Despite a terrible game from the rest of the team, if a loss happens, somehow, someway, the blame falls to the goaltender. Sometimes though, it is an issue with goaltending. There’s no denying that Rinne has been in a rut lately and Carter Hutton, who is usually the subject of ridicule, has been playing rather well. However, this road trip undeniably showed the strength of both goaltenders and boy, was it something to behold.

Just six minutes into the first period, Mike Ribeiro notched his sixth goal of the season with assistance from Craig Smith (6) and Mattias Ekholm (16). Surprising that Ribeiro would score, as he tends to drop pass more than anyone in the league it feels like, but Nashville would hang onto that 1-0 lead through the remainder of the first period. Calgary would get the upper-hand three times alone in the first period due to penalties on the Predators, but Carter Hutton and the defense held their own to remain in the lead.

In the second period, however, Calgary would be at the disadvantage the most, taking four penalties throughout its course. Perhaps Calgary was called for so many penalties because of… this:

Dennis Wideman, apparently a little ticked that the officials missed the hit Miikka Salomaki jarred him with, cross-checks a linesman in retaliation. The more you watch it, the less case Wideman has to say it was “an accident”. There’s a good chance he’ll face a ten-game suspension at minimum. It’ll be interesting to see what the League does… or does. Wideman was not penalized during this game for this hit, by the way.

But, thanks to so many penalties, Shea Weber was able to launch one of his signature slapshots Karri Ramo to give Nashville the 2-0 lead on the power play. Weber’s 12th goal of the season, he was assisted by Roman Josi (25) and Ryan Johansen (27).

The Predators would continue to hold onto that 2-0 lead until about five minutes left of the third period when Flames captain Mark Giordano and his team crowded the net, finally catching Hutton off guard. Similar to Tuesday night’s showdown in Vancouver, Nashville would take a last minute penalty to give Calgary at 6-to-4 man advantage. The defense did what it does best and Hutton kept his cool, holding back the Calgary Flames to seal the 2-1 victory and to sweep the Western Canada road trip 4-0-0.

The Predators and the rest of the NHL have descended upon Nashville for this weekend’s All-Star festivities and holy crap am I excited. As are you, I bet. It was just recently announced – as I was writing this – that James Neal will now replace the sick Jonathan Toews in the All-Star lineup. Yay! We have four All-Stars now! Another injury to note, Alexander Ovechkin, will not make the trip here either and has been replaced with Evgeny Kuznetsov who also plays for the Capitals.

Four victories in a row. It’s a nice feeling, isn’t it? Very reminiscent of last season, yes? Now the question is, will Nashville lose its strength and momentum with this All-Star Break? Honestly, it’s not that big of a break. They are technically missing one day in which their could be a game (normally); they’ll be back at it against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. I guess we’ll just have to see. But for now, we’ve got some sure fire goaltenders and a spot in the wildcard for the playoffs.

 

Johansen Trade: The Day After

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Now that the dust has settled (for the most part), both Columbus and Nashville can rest easy – at least when it comes to the smoothness of said trade negotiation. In an interview today, General Manager David Poile noted that, “if Roman Josi wasn’t doing as good as he is, we wouldn’t have made this trade”. There no doubt this was a very difficult decision for GMDP; as a team possibly best known for its development of elite defensemen, it certainly wouldn’t be easy choosing which guy would be on the trade block.

Of course, Shea Weber is not up for debate (despite many throwing his name out there – it’s not going to happen) and, with the Norris-caliber performance Roman Josi has been displaying recently certainly meant he wasn’t going anywhere. Yes, trading off the budding 21-year-old who has plenty of potential and time to grow that is Seth Jones (and the fact Poile loved the kid) would be a difficult move to make. However, the success of this trade – a simple him-for-him – shows the urgent need of both teams. As stated in my previous post, Columbus is in desperate need of defense; Nashville is in serious need of some offense. The trade between both teams was a no-brainer. Now, decided who to let go (who could potentially boost an opposing team and cause an issue later on down the road) is the tricky part.

If you have done any digging on Mr. Johansen, or you’ve just been following current events relating to the subject, you’ve probably heard he and the Columbus organization – namely head coach John Tortorella – had some disagreements, so to say. Nothing major or involving off-ice behavior, just normal coach-to-player disconnect. Tortorella, who was hired in October, believed Johansen’s performance decline was due to being out of shape and essentially marked him as a healthy scratch a few times. It was later determined that the center had an “undisclosed illness” that was attributing to his negative performance.

I’ve come across a few comments from fans regarding Johansen’s performance once the trade was announced, including “good luck. Johansen is a lazy player” to “well, Columbus clearly got the better end of the deal”. Now, I must take the comments with a grain of salt (and so should you) as these are fans with some serious bias. Nashville is no different, with fans bashing Jones’ performance as well. To see an in-depth, detailed look at Jonansen’s numbers, check out OnTheForecheck’s assessment here. But, from what I gather, Ryan Johansen and John Tortorella simply did not mesh well and, let’s be honest, it is Tortorella we are talking about. The man is a bit on the nutty side, to put it nicely.

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Again, I shall take those comments from Blue Jackets fans with a grain of salt and you should, too.

However, we shall be the judge of Ryan Johansen’s “laziness” starting tomorrow when the Predators take on the 20-18-3 Colorado Avalanche in Denver. Of course, Johansen is not going to come flying onto the ice with a golden halo with angels tooting horns behind him; he’ll need time to get used to a new system. This kid has spent his entire professional career under the Blue Jackets organization so it’ll take a bit to see which line he pairs best with. According to Adam Vingan of The Tennessean, Peter Laviolette stated that Johansen will start with Colin Wilson and James Neal.

Ryan Johansen practiced with the team today and is expected to suit up for tomorrow night’s bout in Denver. Debate as to what number Johansen would choose was floating around yesterday as his current number 19 belongs to Calle Jarnkrok. It was announced earlier this morning that Johansen would go with #92 in recognition of his birth year, 1992. The 23-year-old center is confident in his abilities and, to quote GMDP, “We accomplished something we haven’t been able to do in 18 years. We got a first line center.” That tells you right there that GMDP is confident with this trade. Of course, offering up Seth Jones, who will likely become a defensive star within a few years, was enough of an example of Poile’s confidence as any.

Again, the most that you need to take away from this post is that don’t expect him to come out guns a blazing tomorrow night, though that would be awesome. However, Johansen has proven himself in more ways than one that projects a confidence that will result in great success for Nashville. As long as I didn’t just jinx it.

Also, for those wondering who are too afraid to ask, Ryan Johansen is from Vancouver, Canada. Needless to say, his name is pronounced JOE-Hansen, not YO-Hansen. I’ll be the first to admit I immediately thought it was YO-Hansen, but I blame Jarnkrok, Josi, and Juuse Saros for that. I just want more Scandinavian players, okay. You’ll hear various versions of how to pronounce Johansen as he settles in with the club (even David Poile has been calling him Yo-hansen), so just note that it is JOE, not YO.

 

Preds thump Blackhawks 5-1

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Image Source: Sanford Myers/Getty Images

While Blackhawks fans joke that Bridgestone Arena may as well be “United Center South”, the boys in gold had different plans last night as they welcomed in fellow Central Division team the Chicago Blackhawks to Nashville last night. The first meeting in Nashville this season, the Predators and Blackhawks’ first bout with one another since last season’s playoff run was Tuesday in Chicago. Excelling on home ice, the Blackhawks dismantled the Predators 4-1 while extending Patrick Kane’s point streak.

While Predators/Blackhawks games aren’t exactly the most enjoyable when they come to town for the Nashville fan, it seemed like the building belonged to its home fans well before the hockey teams hit the ice. I’d go as far to say that the Predators fans drowned out the opposing fans quite well, minus the occasional Hawks cheer here and there. While Blackhawks band-wagoners scoff at the fact that Predators fans get run out of the building when they come to town, it’s the obvious and overstated reminder that Nashville is still a fairly young team. We don’t have to do the math to say that one of the Original Six teams that was established in 1926 has more fans than a team founded in 1998. Who gives a flying you-know-what as to how many Cups you have? You have six and three of those were won within the last decade. It’s not that Nashville has a lack of fans; hockey has been around long before the NHL decided to place a national team here. Piss-ass drunk fans that thrive on being an embarrassment to society are what make Predators fans avoid the arena when Blackhawks fans come to town. Congrats on that achievement.

Moving onward, after the loss Tuesday night in Chicago, the Predators didn’t have to wait long for a rematch as the Blackhawks would arrive for their first match in Nashville this season last night.

FIRST PERIOD:

  • James Neal launched the Predators in the right direction at 6:54 for his 11th goal of the season giving Nashville an early 1-0 lead over Chicago. Shea Weber (10) and Mike Ribeiro (13) notched the assists.
    https://twitter.com/TomAWillis/status/675123214167707649
  • Craig Smith would make his move count at 15:56 for his 6th goal of the season with Viktor Arvidsson picking up his first assist.
    https://twitter.com/TomAWillis/status/675128236347666432
  • Not even a minute later, Filip Forsberg would push Nashville up 3-0 with a power play goal. Heck, Paul didn’t even finish saying the word before Forsberg scored. It was pretty fantastic, really. Roman Josi (15) and Calle Jarnkrok (4) would notch the assists on Forsberg’s sixth goal of the season.
    https://twitter.com/CMS_74_/status/675128630310236161
  • There was no denying who dominated the first period, but the question on everyone’s mind was would Nashville continue the momentum through the remaining forty minutes? Pekka Rinne looked like him old self despite having a few uncharacteristic games as of late. Though Chicago only managed seven shots on goal in the first period, they were all pretty stout.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • Though no goals were scored in the second period, what was expected out of Chicago – for the most part – happened. They came out with more flames under their feet than Nashville did, but the Predators didn’t make the usual “second period funk” that they usually take. Chicago would out-shoot Nashville 13 to 8 in the second, but Pekka being Pekka and all…
    https://twitter.com/justinbbradford/status/675141340775215105

THIRD PERIOD:

  • At 5:43, Patrick Kane would “score” to not only put Chicago finally on the board, but extend his point streak to 24. Now, I am not one for conspiracies, but really… this was definitely goaltender interference. Any other time, I am almost willing to bet that goal would’ve been thrown out, but because Kane’s streak is involved… yeah, I do believe it. So sue me. I’m a fan, not a NHL employee.
    https://twitter.com/TomAWillis/status/675150837568679936
  • Neal, on the other hand, extended Nashville lead to 4-1 at 14:55 for his second goal of the night and his 12th of the season. No assistance was needed for his Frosty goal.
    https://twitter.com/TomAWillis/status/675157043905478660
  • And, in a last ditch effort to get Chicago in the game, Scott Darling was pulled to give the Blackhawks the extra man. Unfortunately for them, Eric Nystom has a way of hitting the empty nets (even when down a man on the penalty). Nystrom’s empty-netter + shorthanded goal is his fifth of the season. Like Neal’s second goal, no assistance was needed.
    https://twitter.com/SteveLayman/status/675157760699457537

While Blackhawks fans filed out of the arena before the final horn could signify the victory in favor of the home team, Nashville was gaining a huge morale boost in this win (along with the points, of course). The players are not immune to the fact that Chicago is notorious for taking over the Bridgestone Arena. They take just as much pride in winning these games as the fans do.

With this victory under their belts, the Predators improve their record to 15-9-5 and now sit in third in the Central Division with 35 points (Chicago has 34 and St. Louis -2nd- has 36). Nashville currently sits fourth in the Western Conference.

The Predators welcome in the 12-16-1 Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, but don’t let that standing fool you. Just because the Avalanche are last in the Western Conference doesn’t mean they won’t come out kicking and screaming.

Preds rally to beat Arizona 5-2

Image Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Oh wow, I am actually getting a chance to update the blog! For those of you who have been waiting patiently, thank you. I am wrapping up my senior year at Tennessee Tech and – along with work – it has me pressed for any kinds of free time. It’s worth it though, really.

Any who, enough excuses — What excuse does Nashville have with this scoring drought their experiencing? Since I last posted an article, the Predators have had twelve goals in six games. Okay, so it’s not all about how many you can score — this is hockey, not basketball. Well, what if I told you, in those six games, Nashville tallied 198 shots-on-goal. Needless to say, it isn’t a matter of why aren’t the Predators taking shots (because they clearly are), it’s why can’t they put the biscuit in the basket? Which teammate pissed off the hockey gods? Well, let’s just move forward into the recap, shall we?

PRE-GAME:
• Nashville recalled forward Cody Bass to replace the injured Colin Wilson. While we aren’t 100% sure how or when Wilson got hurt, we want to believe it has something to do with this:

FIRST PERIOD:
• Arizona would get the ball rolling first at 17:20 on a powerplay goal from Oliver Ekman-Larsson for his sixth goal of the season.
• Despite knocking 13 shots-on-goal compared to Arizona’s 4, the Predators trailed the Coyotes going into the second period 1-0.
• Oh, and Pekka was doing #JustPekkaThings again:

SECOND PERIOD:
• Mike Fisher went down in an awkward stance, leading to him slowly limping off the ice.

While it doesn’t look like much, he did not return to the game and is expected to be our for the next four games.
• Calle Jarnkrok would finally slip one past Mike Smith at 12:32 on the powerplay for his fifth goal of the season. Shea Weber (5) and Filip Forsberg (11) would tally the assists.

• However, Kyle Chipchura would answer at 17:09 to retake the lead going into the third period.

THIRD PERIOD:
• At 2:33, Mike Ribeiro did something we never thought he’d do… he shot and scored for his third goal of the season! Cody Hodgson picked up his fourth assist as well.

• Two minutes later, at 4:49, Filip Forsberg would end his goal-less streak for his fourth goal of the season. Craig Smith (3) and Shea Weber (6) collected the assists.

• Nashville looked like they were on pace to hit 4-2 when James Neal was practically handed an empty net after catching Mike Smith out of his element:

Ah, but he released his inner Craig Smith and completely woofed it. Whoops.
• But Filip Forsberg would answer the Frosty call at 17:01 with a beautiful feed from Mike Ribeiro for his fifth goal of the season. Ribeiro would collect his eleventh assist along with Shea Weber who collected his seventh.

• James Neal would make up for that missed opportunity at 19:10 with an empty-netter to seal the game 5-2 in favor of Nashville. Neal would notch his 10th goal, along with Roman Josi picking up his 11th assist.

While Nashville certainly woke up in the third period, is their scoreless streak finally over? I wouldn’t bet my money on it just yet. While they are making a consistent effort, something just isn’t connecting. Coach Laviolette made some notable line change-ups last night that aided in securing the win, but there is still a missing element. With the need of a top center added to the roster and the possible loss of Mike Fisher for a good while, Nashville may find itself in a toughie for a bit. Maybe not. Who knows.

The Predators welcome in Jaromir Jagr and the Florida Panthers tomorrow night at 7PM.

Preds Thump Sharks 2-1

Image Source: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Did you make it through the entire game last night? I’ll be honest, I conked out at the end of the second period. A lot of you fought the strong hand of the Sandman and are now hooked up to your trusty caffeine IVs while you struggle through the workday. But alas, you have a smile on your face and deem it completely worth the lack of sleep because the Predators extended their record to 7-1-1 after defeating the 5-3-0 San Jose Sharks last night. Want some highlights? We’ve got your highlights:

First Period:

  • Eric Nystrom was on point from the very beginning, sending a gorgeous one-timer on net passed Martin Jones at 3:22 for an early 1-0 lead. Roman Josi (4) and Paul Gaustad (2) nabbed the assists on Nystrom’s third goal of the young season.

  • Barret Jackman picked up a roughing penalty against Tommy Wingels, but the Predators penalty kill did its job and ended the first period 1-0.

Second Period:

  • No goals were had by either team in the second, but Joe Thornton and Shea Weber did get called for Unsportsmanlike conduct when Weber cross-checked Thornton after he checked Roman Josi.

Third Period:

  • Just 1:28 into the third, San Jose finally slipped one passed Rinne with Joe Pavelski collecting his fourth goal of the season.
  • Calle Jarn-CROAK, on the other hand, wasn’t having a tied game for long, picking up his first goal of the season at 8:52. Gabriel Bourque (1) and Seth Jones (5) assisted on Jarnkrok’s wicked wrister.

  • The boys in gold white would hold off the Sharks until the end though, with Nashville out-shooting San Jose 24 to 21.

Random Musings:

  • For those Wilson lovers out there, Colin took a puck to the head during the first period. No need to panic, he is okay. I just really wanted to post this gif:

  • Wondering why I said “Jarn-CROAK” earlier? The announcers had a bit of a difficult time pronouncing it during the first period. Glad they got it corrected before he scored the game winning goal.

That last tweet by Mr. Bradford needs to be further addressed. The Sharks won 80% of the face-offs in the first period alone. There were 53 face-offs total last night, with San Jose winning 37 and Nashville only winning 16. Eek. Time to panic? No, because as great as they are to win, they don’t necessarily define how the outcome of the game. Nashville is not chasing the puck when they lose (for the most part), which keeps them on the plus side of possessions. Though it is certainly something to work on, it is not a dire situation like other aspect could be (penalty kill, power play, etc.). So, in a nutshell, don’t freak out over win/loss numbers within the faceoff just yet.

Nashville continues down the West Coast with a stop in Los Angeles on Saturday for a special Halloween puck drop of 3PM.

Preds Release Opening Night Roster

opening night

Yesterday afternoon, the Predators released the finalized 23-man roster for the 2015-16 NHL season. Without further ado, here are your Nashville Predators:

FORWARDS

Smith

Forsberg

Arvidsson

Bourque

Fisher

Gaustad

Hodgson

Neal

Nystrom

Wilson

Ribeiro

watson

51(1)

DEFENSE

Bartley

Bitetto

Ekholm

Ellis

Weber

Josi

Jackman

Jones

GOALIES

Rinne

Hutton

 

So, are you surprised by who made  the roster? We certainly are happy to see that Austin Watson made the cut, as that kid has been working something hard in the AHL. The same can be said for Viktor Arvidsson, who is definitely ready for his light to shine this season.

The 2015-16 NHL season opens tonight with the Maple Leafs vs. the Canadiens, the Blackhawks vs. Rangers, the Flames vs. the Canucks, and the Kings vs. the Sharks. However, Nashville opens the season tomorrow at home against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Preds sign Calle Jarnkrok

Image Source: Kristen Jerkins Photography

Image Source: Kristen Jerkins Photography

There’s a good chance the young 23-year-old Swede is smiling from ear to ear today as Calle Jarnkrok and the Predators organization come to terms on a one-year deal worth $735,000. Here’s a little excerpt from the official press release:

Jarnkrok, 23 (9/25/91), has amassed 27 points (9g-18a) in 86 career NHL contests since making his debut with the Predators on March 21, 2014 vs. Calgary. During his first full NHL season in 2014-15, the Gavle, Sweden native suited up for 74 regular-season games (7g-11a-18pts) and all six playoff games (2a), recording assists in each of his first two career Stanley Cup Playoff games. In his first two months upon being acquired from Detroit on March 5, 2014, Jarnkrok posted nine points (2g-7a) in his first 12 NHL games, including five points (1g-4a) in the first five contests of his NHL career, the second-longest point streak by a Predators player in the first games of their NHL career (Marek Zidlicky, six games, Oct. 9-23, 2003).

Perhaps I made I good choice in purchasing his practice jersey at the Used Equipment Sale after all.

…And then there were two (RFAs) left…

  • Colin Wilson – July 28th
  • Craig Smith – July 20th
  • Gabriel Bourque – 1 Year, $866,250 (Qualifying Offer)  – 7/2/2015
  • Anthony Bitetto – 1 Year, $665,000(NHL)/$60,000(AHL) – 7/13/2015
  • Calle Jarnkrok – 1 Year, $735,000
  • Taylor Beck – Traded to Toronto for Jamie Devane – 7/12/2015
  • Taylor Aronson – 1 Year, $605,000(NHL)/$65,000(AHL) – 7/16/2015
  • Magnus Hellberg – Traded to NY Rangers for 6th Rounder 2016 Draft – 7/1/2015

Yeah, we’re looking at you, Colin Wilson and Craig Smith.

Qualifying Offers extended to 8 RFAs

PicMonkey Collage

Fear not, Preds fans! The Predators extended qualifying offers to eight Restricted Free Agents all before the 4PM deadline this afternoon. Those eight players? Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, Gabriel Bourque, Anthony Bitetto, Calle Jarnkrok, Taylor Beck, Taylor Aronson, and Magnus Hellberg.

In a nutshell, by extending these qualifying offers, the Predators are still given the opportunity to continue negotiations with these particular players. This doesn’t stop these players from signing other contracts, but it does give Nashville the right to match or exceed these potential competitive offers. If the Predators do not choose to match or exceed an offer, they will be compensated for the player’s departure from the organization. If the Predators had not given these RFAs qualifying offers, these players would’ve become Unrestricted Free Agents on Wednesday, July 1st.

So, who didn’t receive qualifying offers? Well, that would be Zach Budish and Josh Shalla; two players that will hit the UFA market come July 1st.

Preds help Hawks Count; Take Game 2 6-2

Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Well, if that wasn’t a good way to show that Nashville has what it takes to make it beyond the first round then I can’t tell you what was. Similar to Wednesday’s game, there were quite a few circumstances that certainly went against the Predators. However, instead of allowing those instances to bog them down, Nashville persevered and then some to take victory of Game 2 6-2. Here are the main highlights you should take away from last night’s game:

  • Definition of Top Shelf Cheddar? That’d be Colin Wilson, who did just that to give the Predators the lead early in the first period. That snipe was Wilson’s third of the playoffs – he might just be the hero of the playoffs.
  • Patrick Sharp would put Chicago on the board, but Roman Josi would make sure Nashville ended the period in the lead with just three seconds left in the first.
  • The penalty kill was overtly prepared for the possibility of spending some time in the box, due in part to Wednesday’s shenanigans. Gaustad was called for a four-minute high-sticking during the second period, putting the Predators in an all too familiar setting. However, the PK only allowed one shot-on-goal during that four minute spat, boosting not only the crowd but the team as well.
  • Patrick Kane’s goal was greatly celebrated, one could say, as he had five other buddies on the ice to do so with! A huge, monstrous missed too-many-men call lead to Kane’s first goal of the playoffs – one that happened to tie the game. To add insult to injury, the officials would soon wave off a perfectly clean goal from Calle Jarnkrok.

  • Injuries were abound last night, with Taylor Beck traveling back to the locker room after a Seabrook shot, and Shea Weber leaving for the remainder of the game with a lower-body injury. Weber will not be making the trip with the team to Chicago, definitely confirming he will be out at least two game. Mike Fisher, on the other hand, will be making the trip. Here’s a .gif of where Weber’s injury occurred:

  • Craig Smith notched his first of two goals last night in the second, helping to break that awful second period slump and gave Nashville a 3-2 lead going into the third.
  • Filip Forsberg gave the Predators a 4-2 lead in the third, becoming the youngest player in Preds franchise history to score a post-season goal.
  • And, quickly after Forsberg, Craig Smith wanted another taste and notched his second goal of the night on Corey Crawford. Ah, and Pekka Rinne picked up the assist on his goal, too.
  • Mike Santorelli would get the deciding goal for his first in the playoffs, making the final score 6-2 in favor of Nashville.
  • Vince Vaughn was in town to watch his beloved Blackhawks along with NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman. The Predators should be beaming to show off such a great game to someone who doesn’t care much for small markets.

Other Thoughts:

That, ladies and gentlemen, was a game for the ages. The Predators went in knowing that things would possibly go against them – as it always has. Instead of taking the beating, Nashville stood firm and expressed the type of discipline they have been lacking for a while. Maybe it was the loss of Weber; maybe it was the excellent PK on that double-minor; whatever the case, there was a fire lit under the Predators that needs to stay lit for tomorrow’s game in Chicago and beyond.

Game 3 in Chicago starts at 2PM — A little bit earlier than the two here at home, I’d say. Like I said, that fire from last night needs to be there tomorrow. Chicago will have the crowd and home ice advantage, which could break them mentally. No need for mentality breaks.

Ugly OT Win breaks Preds 6-Game Losing Streak

Source: Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

Source: Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

Call it what you will: ugly, gritty, rough, etc., but the Predators pulled out the two-points over the Arizona Coyotes to end their six-game losing streak last night.

SCRATCHED: Victor Bartley, Calle Jarnkrok, Eric Nystrom, Anton Volchenkov

FIRST PERIOD:

  • The Predators came out with a little more fire under their belts, but goaltender Louis Domingue interrupted all 13 SOG that Nashville mustered. For someone who has only tended NHL ice once previously to this match, Domingue brought his A-game; a testament to his solid abilities.
  • Pekka was on point, too, last night, blocking all nine shots-on-goal from the Coyotes in the first period.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • At 3:26 into the second period, Paul Gaustad collected his third goal of the season with assistance from Taylor Beck (7).
  • Both Arizona and Nashville were given two power play opportunities, but neither could capitalize on the advantage.
  • The Coyotes out-shot the Predators eleven to eight.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • At 7:27 into the third, the Coyotes set the game with a tip-in from Kyle Chipchura, his 4th goal of the season.
  • Nashville was awarded three power play chances in the third, including one that would follow up to the end of regulation, but they were unable to connect.
  • The Predators out-shot the Coyotes twelve to eight in the third period.

OVERTIME:

  • James Neal came to the rescue, scoring his 22nd goal of the season just 2:45 in overtime. Seth Jones (17) and Cody Franson (29) tallied the assists on Neal’s game-winning-goal.

POST GAME NOTES:

  • The Predators are now 8-0-1 when Paul Gaustad notches a point during the span of a game.
  • Nashville is also 9-1-2 when Viktor Stalberg is in the lineup.
  • Gaustad’s goal ends another poignant streak; the eleven-straight games without tallying the first goal. Reminder: six of those eleven resulted in losses.
  • Cody Franson tallied his first point with the Predators since being traded to the team back in February (and, if we want to get really technical, his first points with the Preds since the 2010-11 season).
  • With two points, the Predators jump the Anaheim Ducks to reclaim first in the Western Conference and league. That’s an amazing stat in its own, that Nashville was able to lose six-straight and still bounce back into the lead with one win.
  • Pekka Rinne now has 199 career wins and the Predators franchise now has their 599th win.

The Predators aren’t out of hot water just yet; oh no. Nashville heads further west, taking on all three teams in California before making it back home on Tuesday to face the Minnesota Wild. The Sharks, who Nashville plays Thursday night at 9:30PM, will be desperately looking for a win as they are sitting in fifth in the Pacific Division and just one point behind the Kings.